Dr Kim Barker, lecturer in law at Stirling Law School, and Dr Olga Jurasz, senior lecturer in law at the Open University Law School, look at the proposed reforms to the hate crime regime.
Written by Dr Kim Baker & Dr Olga Jurasz, Scottish Legal News
The Scottish government is currently considering reforms to the hate crime framework in Scotland. This law reform agenda is something of a pressing priority given the increase in hate incidents, and the upsurge in polarisation evident in social interactions – both online and offline. One aspect of the reform under consideration is whether to introduce – as suggested by Lord Bracadale in his Independent Review of Hate Crime Legislation in Scotland – a gender aggravator, and whether to introduce a new standalone offence of misogynistic harassment.
The inclusion of both gender and misogyny in Lord Bracadale’s review was a response to the growing societal concerns over misogynistic and gender-based hate apparent both online and offline. As a result of his recommendations in 2019, the Scottish government is now considering whether to table legislation to address these issues. This is a welcome development, particularly given our advocacy for law reform, and previous research on the issue of misogyny.